Jay Z-Beyonce's On the Run Tour: What the Critics Are Saying (Video)

 Jeff Daly/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP Images

Jay Z and Beyonce opened their summer On the Run tour last night at a sold-out Sun Life Stadium in Miami, the two sharing and trading appearances on the stage for a 42-song, almost two-and-a-half-hour set, or as The New York Times' Jon Caramanica put it in his review, “Beyonce is regal, Jay Z brash. Beyonce, a picture of steely intensity; Jay Z, a paragon of casual cool. Beyonce, a gut puncher fluent in devastation; Jay Z, happy to devastate.”

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Rather than “unpack the vicissitudes of complex relationships, though … they’re conspiratorial and exuberant, the sound of people getting away with something.”

The show opened with a string of hits, including “’03 Bonnie & Clyde,” “Upgrade U” and “Crazy in Love,” which Caramanica calls “songs of diligent, enthusiastic, sometimes giddy love … a show that acknowledged their two very different sorts of success without diminishing either one.”

The set relied heavily on their albums from last year, Beyonce’s sneak-attack self-titled release on Columbia and Jay Z’s Samsung value-added effort, Magna Carta … Holy Grail (Roc Nation), which, according to Caramanica, gave Beyonce the edge “because her odes to heated married love … were the most intense statements of marital bliss of the night.”

There were also some “clever” transitions, when the numerical “Countdown” from the Beyonce song (provided by Boyz II Men) segued into Jay Z’s “99 Problems,” though the technique was less successful when her “Naughty Girl” was followed by Jigga’s “Big Pimpin’.”

The concert was interspersed with scenes from the “Bonnie & Clyde”-styled video that announced the tour, and some vaguely French nouvelle vague black-and-white stills, and ends with some charming home movies, including footage from their wedding that Caramanica dubbed “only slightly varnished truth, more affecting than anything that had preceded it.”

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Billboard’s Leila Cobo called it “a highly entertaining and impressive show that went from the glamorous to the profane,” summing it up as “erotica, glamour, swagger, street cred, and finally, a peek at marriage and family bliss.” Still, Cobo pointed out, “It was also a rather detached show … the lines between performers and audience were very sharply delineated, and both Jay and Beyonce were careful to adhere to script and procedure every step of the way."

The Huffington Post’s Matthew Jacobs called the show “impressive … grand, full of costume changes and lined with fog machines that envelope Queen Bey and her partner in crime in a sultry cloud of smoke.”

USA Today’s Erica K. Landau called the show’s coordination between the two “remarkable, it’s the absolute best way that two of the world’s best performers can deliver a show that proves why they’re on top together.”

The Guardian’s Liana Lozada complained a bit about the show's starting 90 minutes late, but relented, “once the show finally began, Jay and Bey charged through their repertoire at a spitfire pace.… The tour played into both of the pair’s strengths: Jay brought the Brooklyn bravado and Bey brought the southern strut.”

Setlist:

‘03 Bonnie & Clyde

Upgrade U

Crazy in Love

Show Me What You Got

N***as in Paris

Tom Ford

Run the World (Girls)
Flawless
Yonce

Jigga My N***a

Dirt Off Your Shoulder
Big Pimpin’

Naughty Girl
Ring the Alarm
On to the Next One

Clique

Diva
Baby Boy
Haunted
No Church in the Wild

Drunk in Love

Public Service Announcement
Why Don’t You Love Me?

Holy Grail

Fuckwithmeyouknowigotit

Beach Is Better

Partition

99 Problems

If I Were a Boy

Ex Factor (Lauryn Hill cover)

Song Cry

U Don’t Know
Resentment
Love on Top

Izzo (H.O.V.A.)
I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)
Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)

Hard Knock Life
(Ghetto Anthem)
Pretty Hurts

Part II (On the Run)
Young Forever

Halo

Lift Off (Outro)

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